Archives for Honda PR

Andretti Leads Honda Field at Long Beach

  • Steady run nets eighth-place finish
  • Andretti Autosport teammate Carlos Munoz finishes ninth
  • Handling problems hamper several Honda drivers

Andretti Autosport teammates Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz were among the few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing Grand Prix of Long Beach Sunday for Honda and its Verizon IndyCar Series drivers and teams.

2015 IndyCar Long Beach

Marco Andretti finished eighth for Honda at Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach

 

Starting 10th and 12th, respectively, Andretti and Munoz had trouble-free runs on the 1.968-mile Southern California street circuit, with Andretti proving to be the quickest Honda at Long Beach, moving ahead of fellow Honda drivers Ryan Hunter-Reay and Graham Rahal to finish eighth. Munoz had an equally uneventful run to take the checkers in ninth.

Hunter-Reay, in the third Andretti Autosport entry, started fourth, but lost two positions in the run to the first turn, and later struggled on the harder compound “primary” tires to finish a disappointed 13th. Rahal likewise suffered from handling issues and finished 11th.

After early-race contact resulted in a pit stop for repairs and a slightly off-sequence pit strategy, Jack Hawksworth led four laps during the first scheduled round of pit stops, but the lack of any late-race cautions dropped the A.J. Foyt Racing driver to 14th at the finish.

The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads back east for the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama for the fourth round of the 16-race 2015 season at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, starting 3 p.m. EDT Sunday, April 26, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Video recaps from this weekend’s Honda racing activities in Long Beach, including Verizon IndyCar, TUDOR sports car and Acura Pirelli World Challenge efforts, are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. Produced by the Carolinas Production Group, the video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV

Marco Andretti (#27 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 10th, finished 8th: “It’s always nice to be in the top 10, but it’s a bit frustrating because we are sort of maximizing what we are dealt. I can see if we made mistakes and ended up eighth, then fine, but I’m not sure that we could have done better today. It will take a bit more development on everything and we’ll work for more in Barber next week.”

Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) started 8th, finished 11th: “We had an issue with the rear end of the car this morning in warm-up, but thought it would go away in the race. Unfortunately, it didn’t and we struggled with keeping the rear of the car underneath us. It was a major struggle to balance and maintain. It’s unfortunate, because I was hoping today would be a day where we could make up some points, and we squandered the opportunity.”

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race in Long Beach: “Obviously, this was a very disappointing day for all of us at Honda Performance Development. We need to perform better. We do believe we have identified the areas where we need to improve, and will spare nothing in our efforts to return Honda to victory circle in the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

Grand Prix of Long Beach Qualifying Report

Honda Racing Report
Saturday, April 18, 2015

Grand Prix of Long Beach Qualifying Report
Circuit: Grand Prix of Long Beach (1.968-mile temporary street circuit), Long Beach, CA
2014 winner: Mike Conway [Ed Carpenter Racing] 82.362 mph average
Weather: Sunny, mild, 72 degrees F.

Ps. Driver Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
1. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 01:06.63 106.331 mph average
2. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet 01:06.66 +0.0293 seconds
3. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 01:06.79 Fast six shootout
4. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 01:07.05 Fast six shootout
5. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 01:07.14 Fast six shootout
6. Josef Newgarden Carpenter Fisher Hartman Chevrolet 01:07.17 Fast six shootout
7. Tony Kanaan Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 01:07.11 Second round qualifier
8. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 01:07.13 Second round qualifier
9. Sebastien Bourdais KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 01:07.24 Second round qualifier
10 Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 01:07.32 Second round qualifier
11 Sebastian Saavedra Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 01:07.39 Second round qualifier
12 Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Honda 01:07.40 Second round qualifier

Other Honda Powered Results:

13 James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 01:07.40 First round, Group 1
16 Jack Hawksworth A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 01:08.63 First round, Group 2
17 Gabby Chaves-R Bryan Herta Autosport Honda 01:07.47 First round, Group 1
19 James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 01:07.77 First round, Group 1
20 Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 01:08.87 First round, Group 2
21 Conor Daly-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 01:08.78 First round, Group 1
22 Francesco Dracone-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 01:10.46 First round, Group 2

Hunter-Reay to start fourth for Honda at Long Beach
Rahal posts seventh-quickest time in afternoon practice session
Graham Rahal continues strong weekend with eighth-place qualifying run
Andretti Autosport places all three drivers in the top 12

Ryan Hunter-Reay led the Honda field in “Firestone Fast Six” Verizon IndyCar Series qualifying Saturday in Long Beach, California, posting the fourth-quickest time in the final “knockout” elimination round that set the field for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach. Hunter-Reay, the defending Indianapolis 500 champion, won in Long Beach in 201

Graham Rahal will start tomorrow’s 80-lap race from eighth, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan, while Hunter-Reay’s Andretti Autosport teammates, Marco Andretti and Carlos Munoz, will start from 10th and 12th, respectivel

Sunday’s third round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 4 p.m. EDT, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) qualified 4th:  “That was pressure-packed. We definitely put the goal out today to make the Firestone Fast Six – that, for us, was a pole today. We got in there and we got well within [the top six], so we’re pretty happy about that. Tomorrow, for warmup, we’re going to have to see how the No. 28 DHL Honda is with race trim, but this is another step forward with this new Honda [aero] package, and I think it’s obvious. Congrats to Helio [Castroneves] on the pole. I think he won the pole here back in ’86 or something like that! No, no, like 13 years ago, but that’s a testament to how talented he is. We’re making steps with this Honda package, and I think we just keep chipping away at it like this and we’ll be able to close that gap.”

Grand Prix of Long Beach Friday Practice Report

Honda Racing Report

Friday, April 17, 2015

Grand Prix of Long Beach Friday Practice Report

Circuit: Grand Prix of Long Beach (1.968-mile temporary street circuit), Long Beach, CA

2014 winner: Mike Conway [Ed Carpenter Racing] 82.362 mph average

Weather: Sunny, mild, 77 degrees F

Top-10 Friday Practice Results:

Ps. Driver Team Manufacturer Best Time Notes
1. Will Power Team Penske Chevrolet 1:07.5485 104.885 mph average
2. Simon Pagenaud Team Penske Chevrolet 1:07.5855 +0.0370 seconds
3. Helio Castroneves Team Penske Chevrolet 1:07.9132
4. Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet 1:07.9671
5. Juan Pablo Montoya Team Penske Chevrolet 1:08.0539
6. Josef Newgarden Carpenter Fisher Hartman Chevrolet 1:08.0900
7. Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda 1:08.1294
8. Stebastien Bourdais KV Racing Technology Chevrolet 1:08.1417
9. Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Honda 1:08.2978
10. Marco Andretti Andretti Autosport Honda 1:08.3125

Other Honda-powered Results

11. Jack Hawksworth A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 1:08.3468
13. James Hinchcliffe Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:08.4120
17. Carlos Munoz Andretti Autosport Honda 1:08.4868
18. Gabby Chaves-R Bryan Herta Autosport Honda 1:08.5227
19. James Jakes Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda 1:08.6412
21. Takuma Sato A.J. Foyt Racing Honda 1:08.9228
22. Rocky Moran Jr.-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:11.1072
23. Francesco Dracone-R Dale Coyne Racing Honda 1:11.2761

Rahal, Hunter-Reay Head Friday Practice for Honda at Long Beach

  • Rahal posts seventh-quickest time in afternoon practice session

  • Ryan Hunter-Reay leads Honda effort in morning practice, third-quickest

Graham Rahal and Ryan Hunter-Reay led the Honda field in Verizon IndyCar Series practice Friday in preparation for Sunday’s Grand Prix of Long Beach. Rahal, debuting his Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda in the colors of new sponsor Steak & Shake, ran seventh fastest in the afternoon practice and for the day.

Andretti Autosport’s Hunter-Reay posted the third-quickest time around the 1.968-mile temporary street circuit in the morning practice, but slipped down the order in the quicker afternoon session and ended the day ninth overall. Teammate Marco Andretti rounded out the top 10 in his Andretti Autosport Honda.

Activities continue Saturday with a final practice session, followed by “Fast Six” knockout qualifying that will set the 23-car field for Sunday’s race. The third round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 4 p.m. EDT Sunday, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Graham Rahal (#15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Honda) 7th fastest in Friday practice:  “We had a mechanical issue this morning and only got to run a handful of laps. But the second practice was more of what we expected. Our car was good, and we are the fastest Honda, but we have a little work to do to catch the Penskes. I was on a lap that was about a tenth [of a second] and a half quicker, but I just messed it up, ate too much curb off in Turn 8 and lost it.  I feel like there is a lot of potential. But we’re pretty close and if you put Will, Simon and a few others aside, we’re kind of the best of the rest, but we’ll keep fighting hard to improve tomorrow. We’re in the hunt.”

Steve Eriksen Interview Transcript

April 17, 2015

An interview with:  STEVE ERIKSEN

THE MODERATOR: Good morning, everybody. Thanks for joining us for the second in a series of motor coach briefings for the 2015 IndyCar season.

Our guest today is Steve Eriksen, vice president and chief operating officer of Honda Performance Development.

Steve, thanks for making the time to be with us today.

Going to open with just a general observation which sounded when we talked about it inside that it’s news to both of us. Between the operations of the IndyCar Series, the Tudor Sports Car Championship and the Pirelli World Series Challenge here this weekend, HPD has 55 engineers on site.

Talk a little bit about that.

STEVE ERIKSEN: Yeah, that’s an impressive number. Because it’s one of our home tracks, we tend to bring more folks out because it’s convenient, it doesn’t cost us an arm and a leg. But it’s not that far off from what we had at the opening race at St. Pete. In fact, that race I counted a high of 44 folks. So we’re about, you know, 10 or 11 more than that.

But because we’re supporting three different series and we want to support it in a quality manner, we’ve made some improvements in our trackside support staff, quality and quantity. In fact, I’ve gotten some feedback from our teams that they really appreciate that and are quite pleased with what they’re experiencing this year.

THE MODERATOR: So can you just amplify that a little bit by talking about how the division of labor is set up amongst the group of 55.

STEVE ERIKSEN: Sure. We did a number of things. One is we have a variety of different roles at the track. The most common one is the engine engineer. We assign engine engineers for each driver, each team. What we’ve done this year is added another layer of more senior folks so that the guys that are doing the day to day stuff of running a car have kind of an overseer who is looking at the bigger picture, looking across the cars, able to look at things that in the hectic day to day of trying to make sure that the car has got the right calibrations in there, that you’ve got the right gear ratios in there, et cetera, you don’t have time to do all the analysis you’d like.

So we’ve added another layer of very experienced guys who are kind of the key point for the team to talk to and to look at the bigger picture.

For instance, if you look at Andretti, when they run four cars, by having kind of a senior guy over those four cars, that senior guy can be making sure that improvements that are found on one car are being applied across the other cars.

So it’s a way to provide more consistency across the cars, more analysis of things that you might not have time to do when you’re running the car. So that’s added a layer and additional folks at the track.

The other thing that we’ve added is a whole series of chassis related folks to help teams get the most out of the aero kit. If you look across the teams, you’ll see we’ve got some very, very experienced guys that are positioned in with each of the teams to help them get the most out of the aero kit. So that’s another layer.

Then you’ve also got a layer of folks that are dealing with the mechanical aspects of the engine. So if there’s a trumpet change that needs to be made because of changing atmospheric conditions, if you’ve got 12 cars, you’ve only got one guy, for instance, to do that change, you got quite a queue of cars to get that change done. We’ve added more resources in that regard as well to make sure that we get good service out to the customers.

So those are kind of the things that have caused us to add even more folks at the track. I think it’s having a really good effect.

THE MODERATOR: You mentioned aero kits. We’ll segue into that discussion. Had obvious issues at St. Petersburg in the season opener with the way parts littered the racetrack in certain circumstances. HPD was proactive after that race in taking steps to ensure that that kind of thing would happen a lot less frequently.

Give us your evaluation of how that looked in New Orleans and what the course forward might be with regard to stabilizing and strengthening aero kit parts for the coming road and street course races.

STEVE ERIKSEN: Sure. We applied very quickly some strengtheners, kind of like an additional layer of carbon in a couple of spots to further strengthen the parts. Those made their debut at NOLA. I was very, very pleased to see how that turned out. We had a number of instances of car to car contact during that race. In fact, we’ve got photographs of endplates with giant tire marks on them where contact had happened, and we did not have a single instance of parts coming off the car. So that fix definitely worked well, and IndyCar was very, very pleased with what they saw from that race.

So we’re going to give it another race here to get another data point to see how things go at Long Beach. Assuming that it goes as well here as it did at NOLA, then our plan is to essentially take that strength as a benchmark, if you will, and then go back and make the same original shape but to that new strength level as a replacement part. So that way you retain the original homologated shape, the original aerodynamic intent, and you get the added strength.

THE MODERATOR: We’re inside a month now from the opening of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 500. Give us kind of an overview, if you would, of what you expect in terms of how many cars will be supplied by Honda engines.

STEVE ERIKSEN: Our plan from the very beginning has always been for 17 cars at Indy. We always planned to support more than half the field. At 17 cars, that’s a good number for us from a resource standpoint.

Based on what I’m hearing from each of our teams, I fully expect we’ll be at 17 cars for the month of May.

I’ve also heard Chevy’s at 17. So if that’s true, that gives us at least one car for Bump Day.

THE MODERATOR: We’ll open it up to questions for Steve Eriksen.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: Your question is based on what we saw at NOLA, what’s our reflection of where we’re at?

I was really quite pleased. Obviously with the chaos of the rain and wet and stuff, it’s a crapshoot to know exactly where you’re at. But I think if we had gone green again at the end of the race, we would have seen James Jakes pass Castroneves. He was right there until another yellow came along. So he looked very competitive.

I talked to James Hinchcliffe. He was very happy with the car, very pleased with its competitiveness. And what a performance from Simona. I mean, that was just phenomenal. Sure like to see her get back in the car again. Obviously she’ll be here for Indy when we go to the Indy 500.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: Rahal looked real racy as well. He’s actually been very strong from the get go with the aero kit. His team got what you need to think about for getting the most out of it. They’ve made great progress through the races that they’ve been at so far.

So, yeah, I’m really quite pleased with the progress. Every session, teams are learning more and more about the aero kit. If you look at last year’s car, last year’s car made a lot of its performance with the under wing. Yes, you have wings, but the under wing made a lot of the performance.

IndyCar took away a ton of the performance the under wing. That was part of the regulation change. So by necessity the cars now make more performance out of the wings than out of the under wing. So that changes inherently how a car has to be set up. So we’re pleased they’re coming to grips with that.

Q. Do we have to address the structural aspects of the speedway kit, which will be making its debut at Indianapolis based on what we learned about the road, street course kit?

STEVE ERIKSEN: We had a chance to have IndyCar come out and see the full Speedway kit in totality. So they got to come out to one of the teams, see it installed, have a look over the car.

They were completely happy with what they saw. We’ve made some further suggestions to them, which they are considering. One of the things that we proposed, if you looked at Ryan Hunter Reay’s wreck at NOLA, what you saw when he wrecked, and that was a big old wreck, the rear wheel guards and the beam that joins them came off as a whole. That’s entirely expected based on the regulations and the way that they require us to segregate the boxes.

But our suggestion to them, and they’re looking at it, is why not tie in the rear wheel guards to the main plane? Why not connect those together? You’re going to form a box that’s much more solid.

So they’re considering that. We’ll see if they agree to that. If so, then we’ll look at doing that in the future. You can look at the footage and go, Hey, that whole thing comes off as an assembly. Why not tie it in so it stays together?

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: We have tested the Speedway kit. In fact, if you looked at our video when we released the road course image, there were some images there of a car looking very Speedway like. So yes, we have.

Q. How much weight was added as a result of the structural changes to the road and street aero kits?

STEVE ERIKSEN: It’s very, very minor. Basically if you looked at the front wing endplate, the place that we reinforced was the base, the outer edge, the base of the outer edge of the front endplate. What we did, it’s a very thin sheet the carbon molded perfectly to the shape that goes on the outside, one that goes on the inside, one goes on the bottom. It kind of sandwiches the base.

But they’re very, very thin. Apart from the adhesive and the rivets that hold it in place, it’s pretty small. If you look at the rear wheel guard, it’s two strips. I mean, they’re probably about that wide. Very thin strips that go on the inside of the rear wheel guard. So it’s very, very minor.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: It’s a little hard to get a read on that. I certainly was impressed with the fuel economy that James Hinchcliffe was able to do on NOLA. He did it in one stop. I talked to him after the race. He said he had enough fuel to do two laps of green after the race in addition to what he was able to complete. So he was quite pleased with the fuel economy.

We haven’t really had enough full green segments yet in the series to assess truly where we’re at on fuel economy. But that’s traditionally been a strong suit for us, so I expect that we’ll be quite competitive there.

From a performance standpoint, like I said, everybody’s getting their heads around the fact that this is a different car and you have to set it up differently to extract the most out of the aero kit.

I mean, if you looked at some of the qualifying performances, you’ll see some folks jumping up the list that might be a little bit surprising, but it’s because they got their heads around what was needed to get the performance out of the kit, and they were able to do quite well.

I don’t think you’ve seen all of the performance that’s possible from the kit. I’m pretty confident in that.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: Again, it’s hard to assess. But everything that we’ve gotten as feedback from our teams said we made a huge step forward over the off season. We can see it in the power curves. But they can feel it in the car.

We’ve made such an increase that drivers are having trouble keeping that power to the ground. That’s one of the things they’re dealing with. This is so much power that I’ve got to rework the car to try to deal with the extra power.

Q. Are the changes that we felt necessary just related to construction?

STEVE ERIKSEN: Yeah, at this point that’s where it’s at. I mean, you know, it’s interesting watching the in car video and the video that you see from the broadcast, just how much that Dallara main plane is being deformed. That’s happening because we’re putting a ton of force on it. We’re making power out of that wing. The main plane, which last year didn’t have to deal with much of that power, is now really getting a workout.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: We have a whole series of tests that the aero kit had to pass to be homologated. We passed all those with flying colors on the first test.

What you don’t have is there’s no spec for how hard are the drivers going to run into each other. It’s a little bit of learning as you go along. We responded very quickly once we saw that there was improvement that made sense to do. So far it’s panned out really well.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: It did seem at NOLA that the yellows dragged on so long that the tires cooled down, and then you get into this cycle of, Oh, geeze, now another guy’s gone off. It takes so long to get it cleaned up. Your tires cool down.

I was actually talking to Gil about this during the race. He reminded us it used to be the case, it creates its own problem, they used to take the pace car off early and allow everybody to do a lap on their own to get tires back up to temp before they did the lap that says go green.

The problem was, of course, people would accordion out, can’t get a good start because people are spread out differently.

But it would give drivers a bit more time to get the tires up to temp to prevent an immediate problem again.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: It’s been a big exercise because nothing exists in isolation. So when we had an opportunity to design an aero kit, we also had the opportunity to change everything about how the engine    essentially all the engine integration parts of the installation. So, you know, it was a chance for our engine guys and our chassis guys to really work together to extract the most out of this engine installation kit for this season.

We did a great job. We reduced weight. We improved power. The whole kit has better (indiscernible). They did a wonderful job. That can only be done when you have that kind of close working relationship between the chassis side and the engine side. It’s been a great exercise engineering wise.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: It is a challenge. Ultimately qualifying and race are two very different configurations. Qualifying, it’s take every bit of drag off the car and make it as low drag as you can without pitching the driver off into the wall. Then the race, it’s different. You obviously put more downforce on for the race.

So we’ve focused the biggest part of our efforts on making the very, very best racecar first and foremost. So the target, of course, is an Indy 500 win. The kit is designed to be the very, very best racecar we can put in place.

You’ll see some very interesting little elements as you look around the car. It’s going to be a lot cleaner looking because you don’t have all those drag inducing high downforce elements. But there are subtle little pieces around the car that have some very interesting aerodynamic effects.

So we’re in the process of finalizing our plan for introducing that aero kit along with IndyCar probably just post Barber we’re looking at.

Q. (No microphone.)

STEVE ERIKSEN: Number one goal of our company is winning the Indy 500. It is the most important thing for us to do. So that was the design ethos behind the aero kit, was start with the Indy 500 and then everything else cascades on after that.

So there’s certain parts of the aero kit that are fixed. You can’t change them between superspeedway and road course. Those parts had to first and foremost be the best Indy 500 winning parts we could make, then everything else had to add on from there.

That’s an easy one. That’s been the case from day one, so… That’s very, very important.

THE MODERATOR: With that, we will wrap it up. Thanks for making the time for this today. Steve, thanks for joining us. Have a good race weekend.

FastScripts by ASAP Sports

Honda IndyCar Long Beach Talking Points

Grand Prix of Long Beach, California
April 19, 2015
4 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network
IndyCar Radio Network Broadcast and Live Stream
HONDA AT LONG BEACH

* Honda comes to Long Beach following a 1-3-4 finish last weekend at the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans. Honda’s James Hinchcliffe posted his fourth career Indy car victory at New Orleans, with his Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate James Jakes finishing third and Andretti Autosport’s Simona de Silvestro, fourth.

* Honda-powered drivers and teams have won the Grand Prix of Long Beach 11 times in 15 appearances, including a seven-year victory streak in Championship Auto Racing Teams competition from 1996-2002.

* Honda-powered winners at Long Beach include Jimmy Vasser (1996), Alex Zanardi (1997-98), Juan Pablo Montoya (1999), Paul Tracy (2000), Helio Castroneves (2001), Michael Andretti (his final Indy car victory, in 2002), Dario Franchitti (2009), Ryan Hunter-Reay (2010), Mike Conway (2011) and Takuma Sato (2013).

* Since its founding in 1993, Honda Performance Development (HPD), the racing arm of the American Honda Motor Co., Inc., has grown from just a handful of staffers to approximately 150 associates; and from an simple engine-rebuilding facility to a complete motorsports Research & Development organization, engaged in programs ranging from the Verizon IndyCar Series, Pirelli World Challenge, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship to grassroots and entry-level categories including karting, Quarter Midgets and Formula F competition.

* HPD’s successful sports-car racing program will be featured Saturday at Long Beach, as Honda-equipped Michael Shank Racing takes on the rest of the prototype field in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship event with its Ligier-Honda driven by John Pew and Ozz Negri.

* Honda previously won the 2013 American Le Mans Series race here, with Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr winning overall in their Muscle Milk Motorsports HPD ARX-03c; while Extreme Speed Motorsports won in the LMP2 category with Guy Cosmo and Scott Sharp driving the team’s HPD ARX-03b.

* Sunday afternoon, RealTime Racing will spearhead the Acura Motorsports effort in the Pirelli World Challenge race, with a pair of Acura TLX GTs driven by Peter Cunningham and St. Petersburg race winner Ryan Eversley.

* On Monday, April 20, the day after the Grand Prix of Long Beach, 12 Honda-powered Verizon IndyCar Series drivers will visit Honda Performance Development in Santa Clarita, CA to meet with the associates who design, build and maintain their Honda HI15RTT twin-turbo V6 Indy car engines; then meet with American Honda associates in the afternoon at the company’s U.S. headquarters in Torrance, CA.
MANUFACTURER COMPETITION – AERO KITS AND ENGINES

* The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series, the fourth season of the current generation of manufacturer competition, sees the introduction of manufacturer-developed Aero Kits to Indy car racing as another element of competition between Honda and Chevrolet. Each manufacturer has developed visually distinctive, performance-enhancing aerodynamic packages for use by its respective teams.

* Manufacturers were able to develop their own front/rear wing endplates, sidepods, engine covers, rear-wheel guards, and front/rear wing flaps, as long as they fit inside designated “volume boxes” as specified by INDYCAR.

* Aero kits allow multiple combinations of aerodynamic elements to suit the strategy and preferences of each team. This brings a new challenge to both Honda and individual team race engineers, who may mix and match these parts in an effort to find the right combination of downforce for optimum performance during both qualifications and the race at each Verizon IndyCar Series circuit.

* In accordance with INDYCAR regulations for 2015, Honda designed one aero kit for road/street courses/short ovals, and a second superspeedway aero kit, which will debut later this season, for use on oval speedways of 1.5 miles and longer. Cost of engine manufacturer aero kits is capped at $75,000 per entry.

* Drivers and teams using Honda engines have won 212 Indy car races and 10 Indianapolis 500s, both during years of multi-manufacturer competition (1994-2005, 2012); and during Honda’s tenure as single engine supplier to the series (2006-11). Honda’s most recent “500” winner is Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, who emerged victorious in the 2014 running of the Memorial Day classic, and will defend his championship next month.
HONDA RACING/HPD VIDEOS

* Video News Releases from this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race in New Orleans are being posted on a specially created “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group.

* Headed by longtime motorsports broadcaster Rick Benjamin, CPG is providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events during 2015. The video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

Hinchcliffe and Honda Win in New Orleans

* Single-stop pit strategy pays big dividends as James Hinchcliffe claims first win of 2015
* James Jakes completes a 1-3 finish for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports
* Simona de Silvestro runs fourth for Honda and Andretti Autosport

A gamble on pit strategy – making just a single pit stop for fuel and dry weather tires – rewarded Honda driver James Hinchcliffe with victory Sunday in the Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans, his first Verizon IndyCar Series win of 2015 and fourth career victory.

Image 13

Hinchcliffe’s Schmidt Peterson Motorsports teammate, James Jakes, recovered from an early-race spin to finish third while Simona de Silvestro made it three Hondas in the top four positions at the end of a rain-and-crash shortened inaugural Indy car event at NOLA Motorsports Park.

Image 12

Starting 16th on a damp, but drying, race track following heavy morning showers, Hinchcliffe pitted on Lap 13 for fuel and a change to the soft compound “Red” dry-weather tires. It would be his only stop of the 47-lap contest. Hinchcliffe cycled to the front of the field as others made additional stops, then maintained his advantage through a series of restarts in a caution-filled event that featured a total of six yellow flags for 26 laps.

After spinning on Lap 19, Jakes also went off-sequence and recovered to finish third, his first podium result since returning to Indy car competition this season, while de Silvestro gained more than a half-dozen positions on rain tires, then also went off-sequence to finish fourth.

The Verizon IndyCar Series now heads west to California for the third round of the 16-race 2015 season, the Grand Prix of Long Beach, starting 4 p.m. EDT Sunday, April 19, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Video recaps from this weekend’s Indy car race weekend in New Orleans, produced by the Carolinas Production Group, are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD” YouTube channel. The video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV

James Hinchcliffe (#5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda) started 16th, finished 1st, 1st victory of 2015 and 4th career Indy car victory: “We made the [one pit stop] strategy call because of the weather [rain was approaching the circuit], but it turned out that it was all the cautions that made it work for us. On one hand, I do feel bad for all of the fans, because we didn’t have more green-flag laps. But on the other hand, the strategy call was awesome and our car was unbelievable on the ‘Reds’ [softer, dry-weather tires]. We pulled away from a couple of Penskes on those restarts. If we had gone green, I think we still would’ve held them off to the end, as long as we had fuel. It’s great to get our first win of ’15 for Honda, and our first win for [team owners] Sam [Schmidt] and Ric [Peterson].”

Simona de Silvestro (#25 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 18th, finished 4th: “This was huge for us. We struggled earlier in the weekend, but conditions played into our hands. The car was fantastic on rain tires, and I passed a lot of people early in the race. The team made a great call on the pit stop for [dry-weather] tires, and on the second stop as well. That gained us a few more positions and then I finally got Tony [Kanaan, for fourth place]. It is a great day, for us and for Honda, and a great result for the Andretti Autosport team.”

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s victory in New Orleans: “This was a great result for James [Hinchcliffe], Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and everyone at Honda Performance Development. Today’s win was the result of some great strategy by the SPM team, awesome driving from James Hinchcliffe, and some great mileage from the Honda Twin-Turbo Indy V6 engine. We know there is still a lot of work ahead of us as we head into three very important race weekends for Honda – Long Beach, Barber and Indianapolis – but this will give everyone at HPD the momentum we need going into the next rounds of the championship.”

Thunderstorm Wipes Out Indy Car Qualifying in New Orleans

* Lightning brings a halt to qualifying mid-session
* Starting field to be set by entrant points
* Ryan Hunter-Reay to start 7th for Honda, Jack Hawksworth 8th

Honda drivers and teams made an encouraging start in wet-weather qualifying Saturday at NOLA Motorsports Park in preparation for Sunday’s inaugural Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans, but race officials were forced to red flag the session as lightning moved into the area. Continued lightning and thundershowers eventually forced race officials to cancel qualifying, and the field for Sunday’s Verizon IndyCar Series race was set by entrant points.

2015 IndyCar NOLA Louisiana

Had qualifying continued, five Honda drivers – Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti, Carlos Munoz, James Jakes and James Hinchcliffe – would have advanced to the second round. With the grid set by entrant points, Hunter-Reay will start seventh, followed by Jack Hawksworth, eighth, and Marco Andretti, 10th.

The second round round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 3 p.m. EDT Sunday, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Hunter-Reay Heads Damp Friday Practice for Honda at New Orleans

* Posts second-quickest time in abbreviated afternoon session
* Five Honda drivers in top-10 afternoon results
* James Hinchcliffe leads Honda effort in morning practice

On a damp but drying track, in a practice session delayed and shortened to 30 minutes after afternoon showers soaked the NOLA Motorsports Park road course, Ryan Hunter-Reay led the way for Honda in preparation for Sunday’s Indy Grand Prix of New Orleans, setting the second-fastest time in his #28 Andretti Autosport DHL Honda.

Making her second appearance for Andretti Autosport, Simona de Silvestro posted the fifth-fastest time in the afternoon practice, with teammate Carlos Munoz seventh in his Andretti Autosport Honda. Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal rounded out the top 10 for Honda, respectively. Teams and drivers spent the morning practice learning the 2.74-mile NOLA road course, making its first appearance on the Verizon IndyCar Series schedule in 2015. James Hinchcliffe led the way for Honda in that practice with the eighth-quickest time.

Activities continue Saturday with a final practice session, followed by “Fast Six” knockout qualifying that will set the 24-car field for Sunday’s race. The second round round of the 16-race 2015 season starts at 3 p.m. Sunday, with live television coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport DHL Honda) 2nd fastest in afternoon practice: “It was an incomplete day for us with the DHL Honda. In the first session we never really got going in our changes. We were trying some big experiments with some of the aero package that didn’t end up panning out for us, so we ended up going fastest in our first outing – which was unfortunate. But we were able to get a little track time at the end of the day and I think we have a potential direction for tomorrow.”

Honda IndyCar Message Points – Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana

Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, NOLA Motorsports Park
April 12, 2015
3 p.m. EDT
NBC Sports Network
IndyCar Radio Network Broadcast and Live Stream
INDYCAR DEBUT IN NEW ORLEANS

* The 2015 Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana will mark the debut of Verizon IndyCar Series racing in the New Orleans area, and the state of Louisiana.

* This weekend’s race at NOLA Motorsports Park continues the successful expansion of Indy car racing to the southeastern United States in recent years, including the successful Honda Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, and the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida, a fixture on the IndyCar Series schedule since 2005.
AERO KITS

* The 2015 IndyCar Series sees the introduction of manufacturer-developed Aero Kits to Indy car racing as another element to competition between Honda and Chevrolet. Each manufacturer has developed visually distinctive, performance-enhancing aerodynamic packages for use by its respective teams.

* Manufacturers were able to develop their own front/rear wing endplates, sidepods, engine covers, rear-wheel guards, and front/rear wing flaps, as long as they fit inside designated “volume boxes” as specified by INDYCAR.

* Following the season opening March 29 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Honda Performance Development has initiated updates to both the front-wing end plate and rear wheel guards to improve the impact resistance of these components. These updates consist of bonded-in-place panels which further strengthen specific areas of the front-wing end plates and rear wheel guards.

* Design and initial production of these panels has been completed in the short,12-day period — which included the Easter holiday weekend — between the St. Petersburg and New Orleans events.

* Aero kits allow multiple combinations of aerodynamic elements to suit the strategy and preferences of each team. This brings a new challenge to both Honda and individual team race engineers, who may mix and match these parts in an effort to find the right combination of downforce for optimum performance during both qualifications and the race at each Verizon IndyCar Series circuit.

* In accordance with INDYCAR regulations for 2015, Honda designed one aero kit for road/street courses/short ovals, and a second superspeedway aero kit, which will debut later this season, for use on oval speedways of 1.5 miles and longer. Cost of engine manufacturer aero kits is capped at $75,000 per entry.

* All Honda-powered teams in the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series will also be utilizing the Honda aero kit package.

MANUFACTURER COMPETITION

* The 2015 season marks the fourth season of manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series after six years of Honda serving as single engine supplier. Chevrolet and Honda will again battle for supremacy throughout the 16-race season and at the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

* Drivers and teams using Honda engines have won 211 Indy car races and 10 Indianapolis 500s, both during years of multi-manufacturer competition (2004-05, 2012); and during Honda’s tenure single engine supplier to the series (2006-11). Honda’s most recent “500” winner is Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport, who emerged victorious in the 2014 running of the Memorial Day classic, and will defend his championship next month.
HONDA RACING/HPD VIDEOS

* Video News Releases from this weekend’s Verizon IndyCar Series race in New Orleans are being posted on a specially created “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group.

* Headed by longtime motorsports broadcaster Rick Benjamin, CPG is providing video highlights packages following Honda Racing/HPD events during 2015. The video packages can be found in the 2015 HPD Trackside Video Playlist at: https://www.youtube.com/HondaRacingHPDTV.

Hunter-Reay Finishes Seventh for Honda at St. Petersburg

* Fuel gamble by Hawksworth comes up short, prevents podium finish
* Top-10 results for Ryan Hunter-Reay, Hawksworth and Marco Andretti
* First Verizon IndyCar Series race of 2015

Jack Hawksworth’s chances for a podium finish in his first start for A.J. Foyt Racing came up short Sunday afternoon at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Employing an alternate pit strategy, Hawksworth led five laps of today’s Verizon IndyCar Series season opener and remained a contender for a podium result, until he required a final pit stop on Lap 95, dropping him from third to an eighth-place finish.

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay led the Honda field at the checkers, finishing seventh, with Hawksworth eighth and Marco Andretti rounding out the top 10, as Andretti come through the field following multiple contact incidents.

Several Honda-powered drivers had strong runs today, but multiple incidents and contact also hampered the runs of Takuma Sato and Graham Rahal. Starting fifth, Sato sustained damage while battling Sebastien Bourdais for position on Lap 37, and additional damage due to contact later in the race.

Rahal ran as high as fifth in today’s 110-lap event, but a “drive-through” [pit lane] penalty for avoidable contact ruined his chances for a strong result, and the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver finished 11th.

Video News Releases from this weekend’s Indy car season opener and companion Pirelli World Challenge GT double-header – including Saturday’s victory by Ryan Eversley in his RealTime Racing Acura TLX GT – are being posted on the “Honda Racing/HPD Trackside” YouTube channel produced by the Carolinas Production Group. The video packages can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrjKYsWbjOlIQRlm42ehUnw.

The 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series now heads to New Orleans Motorsports Park for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana, to be televised live on the NBC Sports Network on Sunday, April 12.

Ryan Hunter-Reay (#28 Andretti Autosport Honda) started 8th, finished 7th: “I think that was the hardest seventh-place finish I’ve seen. That’s how it is sometimes, when you have bad days you have to bring home solid top 10 [results]. We fell back to like 18th or 19th after the issue at the start with Bourdais [forcing Hunter-Reay to run wide at the first corner]. We rebounded nicely, but to be honest I think that’s about the car we had today — a sixth- or seventh-place car at best. We’ll take the top 10 and move ahead for New Orleans.”

Art St. Cyr (President, Honda Performance Development) on today’s race in St. Petersburg: “This was a disappointing result, which did not reflect the performance of the Honda engine and chassis package. We had drivers and teams with the speed to score good results today, including Ryan Hunter-Reay, Takuma Sato, Jack Hawksworth, Graham Rahal and Marco Andretti. But the race was a crash- andmistake-filled affair, which seemed to affect many of our top competitors. Now we just have to put our heads down, regroup and learn so that we are better prepared for our next race, the new Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at New Orleans Motorsports Park.”

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